Monday, February 29, 2016

The Sweetest Chase by Sharla Lovelace (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Photographer Quinn Parker is getting married in a month, and she’s almost happy about it. Even though her mother is planning the whole wedding. Even though she’s secretly had the hots for Simon Chase forever. But he’s her best friend’s brother and her coworker…off-limits even if she were single. So she’s marrying the man who should be her perfect match—and that’s that.

Simon Chase’s life revolves around his family’s storm-chasing business. The meteorologist of the bunch, he’d rather be out in the weather than reporting it—especially if Quinn Parker is along to photograph the run. He’s been hiding his crush on her for a long time, and it’s only intensified. But she’s marrying someone else—and that’s that.

Or is it? When a Chase family wedding sets the stage for body temperatures to rise and the pressure of Quinn’s impending wedding to build, a new reality breaks. Quinn and Simon discover their unrequited affections have been mutual all along. When the gathering storm of their attraction finally reaches its peak, will it leave their lives in shambles? Or will they find shelter in each other?"

My Thoughts:

Sigh!  I adored this book and am left wondering why I don't read more contemporary romances just like this.  When I read the above summary of this book I was instantly intrigued and knew that I wanted to read it.  A romance featuring individuals who are storm chasers for a living and have their own reality show?  That is definitely not something I had ever read before so how could I possibly resist?  I couldn't and right now I can tell you that I'm really glad that I followed my instincts with this book.  The book itself was a fast read that I found myself immersed in.  I can already tell you that this is a book that I will reread because I just enjoyed it so much.  Don't you love when that happens?  When you find a book that just fits your reading mood so perfectly and in a way that makes you want to experience it over and over again.  This book was like that for me which made me love it even more.     

One of the things that I loved so much about this book was the two main characters and the chemistry between them.  If you read the above summary then you know that the author based this book on a very difficult to make work premise with one of the main characters already being in a committed relationship.  I figured that this was either going to work for me or it wasn't and fortunately it did.  I have such a weakness for romances where the main characters struggle with their feelings for one another and don't just instantly fall madly in love.  It all feels so much more realistic to me when the relationship takes time to develop and grow.  Quinn has had a crush on Simon for a long time but never believed that a relationship with him was possible so she moved on with her life and is engaged to be married to man that she genuinely cares about.  Does she actually love her fiancee?  I would say no after reading this one but the important part of the book is that she doesn't know that.  Simon has also always had feelings for Quinn but never was willing to act on them until now.  All of a sudden both Simon and Quinn are realizing the feelings that they have for one another are more serious than either thought and this brings about some serious struggles for them both.  I loved it!  I loved watching them try to work out their feelings for one another, and I especially loved the anticipation that built for me as the reader hoping for their happy ever after.  I wanted them to realize their feelings for one another before it was too late!  I was just rooting for them in general and I loved every minute of it.        

Overall, I just really loved this book from beginning to end.  My one complaint with this book was that I just wasn't ready to see it end.  Ha!  I loved all of the characters in this book so much that I wanted more.  More Simon and Quinn and more of all of those secondary characters that I was enjoying as well.  The Chase brothers are all so hot!!!  I'm super pumped because there will be more books based on the other brothers that I can look forward to.  Actually this is the second book in this series so I will be going back to the first book as soon as possible.  Also, I NEED more books like this in my life so if you have any recommendations please share.  I can easily recommend this one to other fellow romance readers.  Recommended!!

Bottom Line:  A romance that just swept me away.  I want more!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher as part of a Tasty Book Tour.

Just to give you a little taste of how good this book is see below:

Friday, February 26, 2016

In The Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Heavy Snow...Icy Desires...Cold-Blooded Murder

Clare Fergusson, St. Alban's new priest, fits like a square peg in the conservative Episcopal parish at Millers Kill, New York. She is not just a "lady," she's a tough ex-Army chopper pilot, and nobody's fool. Then a newborn infant left at the church door brings her together with the town's police chief, Russ Van Alstyne, who's also ex-Army and a cynical good shepherd for the stray sheep of his hometown. Their search for the baby's mother quickly leads them into the secrets that shadow Millers Kill like the ever-present Adirondacks. What they discover is a world of trouble, an attraction to each other—and murder..."

My Thoughts:

When I was coming up with my January reading pile I decided to pick a few books off of my shelf that would fit January's snowy weather.  Turns out that this was a great decision on my part as both books fit perfectly in with this time of year!  Reading this book made me wish for more snow on the ground though and I'm hoping for a winter storm sometime soon!  I am so glad that I decided to give this series a try (thanks in large part to fellow blogger Kay who recommended it) and didn't let it languish on my shelves.  This book had everything that I enjoy in a good mystery:  great main characters, a whodunit that kept me constantly guessing, and a snowy setting that just added to the atmosphere of the story.  Okay, maybe I don't always need a snowy setting but it sure did make this book stand out for me.  There is one scene in particular where the author makes the snow and cold feel so dark and foreboding....I loved it so much!  I especially appreciated with this book how easily I fell into the story.  It felt like these characters were old friends and it made my reading experience all the more enjoyable because of it.

In this book police chief Russ Van Alstyne is searching for the parents of an abandoned baby.  Before long though the young mother is found dead and Russ is on the hunt for a killer.  He gets involved with Clare Fergusson in the course of the investigation and the two of them strike up an easy friendship.  I have to say that I just enjoyed both of these two characters so much!  The author does an amazing job of really fleshing out both of their characters and I felt an instant connection to both of them.  That being said (and possible spoiler warning here- don't read on if you haven't read this book!) why, why, why does Russ have to be married?  I hate love triangles in books and I definitely can't get behind infidelity.  Please tell me that this is all resolved very soon or it will make me crazy!  I can handle the two of them sticking to just being friends or Russ leaving his wife (asap) but I hope it doesn't get drawn out.  End rant and possible spoiler section.  The mystery portion of this book was very well done and I didn't figure out the killer until the very end.  I loved how the author had me constantly guessing.  And I really, really loved how the author was able to create such tension and chilling moments throughout the book.  I read this one in a matter of days and was itching for the second book as soon as I finished.  This is a series that I definitely will be continuing on with!

Overall this was a really great beginning to this mystery series and a series that I am very excited about!  I loved the characters so much and am really eager to see what happens next in book two.  This was one of those books that keeps you guessing until the very end and that is really all that I can ask.  I would recommend this one to mystery and thriller fans.  Just be warned that you might be wishing you had book two in your hands and ready to go.  I sure was!  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  A really great beginning to this mystery series!  I need more!

Disclosure:  I purchased a copy of this book from my local used bookstore.  A great choice on my part!    

Monday, February 22, 2016

Enraptured by Candace Camp (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"When Coll Munro finds himself supervising an archaeological dig on the sprawling Highlands estate of Duncally, the handsome Scot’s only worry is his former crofter friends, who seem to delight in making his job as hard as possible. Little does he know his biggest problem comes in a much smaller package. Gorgeous Violet Thornhill is an exasperating, meddling bluestocking who came to the site to examine the ruins and instead finds herself studying Coll. The unyielding Highlander and the headstrong English beauty clash at every turn. But when a midnight intruder threatens Violet and the excavation itself, these polar opposites must work together to solve a decades-old mystery. As Coll and Violet race to decipher long-buried clues, will they discover riches hidden years ago...or an unbridled passion more precious than gold?"

My Thoughts:

Last year I didn't read hardly any historical romances which is a shame since there are so many great books out there in this genre.  This year I'm changing that statistic and books like this are exactly why.  I enjoyed this book so much and found it to be a pleasurable read from beginning to end.  One of the things that really made this book stand out for me were the two main characters.  Oh but how I loved the two main characters in this book!  Violet Thornhill is one of the most independent and unique female leads that I have come across in a book like this.  She is an archaeologist and committed to never being married as she doesn't want anyone to have control of her or anything she does.  Then you have Coll Munro who is much more conventional in that he plans on getting married and settling down one day.  The two of them clash from the very beginning and I just adored it.  I am all for romances where the happy ever after doesn't come too easily - sometimes the friction between the protagonists is the very best part!  I was completely content to read about these two butting heads while also trying to avoid the growing attraction between them.  Be still my heart!  If there is a romance "trope" that I love the most, this is probably it.  I found myself wrapped up in their relationship hoping that they would be able to work it all out.

One of the other things that I loved about this book was that the author didn't make it easy for these two.  They were so completely different in the way that they viewed marriage.  They were also so different when it came to worrying about what others would think and about how to handle the chemistry between them.  I fully admit that there were times where I just didn't see how this author was going to make it work.  I felt like they were too different and head strong on certain points that they were never going to be able to come together.  You'll have to read the book yourself to see how it all plays out but I can tell you that it is completely worth the ride.  I also really enjoyed the mystery of the missing treasure story line that came into play.  It added a layer of suspense to this book that I wasn't expecting but really liked.  I had a hard time setting this book down and managed to read it in a matter of days.  I didn't realize that this book was part of a trilogy at all and honestly don't feel like it took away from my enjoyment of this book at all.  Now I just need to go back and read the other two books since I liked this one so much.  

Overall, a really great read and a new author for me to follow.  I loved the chemistry between Coll and Violet so much which gives me very high hopes for the rest of the books in this trilogy.  This book was really entertaining and left me completely satisfied by the end.  What more could a girl ask for?  I also have to tell you that the chemistry between these two was hot, hot, hot!  Easily recommended for fans of historical romance- check this one out!

Bottom Line:  A book that reminded me exactly why I love this genre so much!  A great read!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

On My Wishlist (Radar Books) #19

On My Wishlist is my way of sharing all of the books that I cannot wait to get my hands upon and read. These are a mixture of books that are about to be released along with some older titles that I really want to read as well. (All summaries are from Goodreads).

I have so much fun making these posts so I hope that you enjoy them as well.  There is always a constant barrage of books that I want to read and I do feel like I add to my TBR list constantly.  There are just so many books that I want to read so why not share about the ones that are calling to me right now?  These books are ones that I've added to my TBR list from a variety of sources.

Fellside by M.R. Carey

"Fellside is a maximum security prison on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors. It's not the kind of place you'd want to end up. But it's where Jess Moulson could be spending the rest of her life.

It's a place where even the walls whisper.

And one voice belongs to a little boy with a message for Jess.

Will she listen?"

Oh my goodness!  I want to read this one SO badly?  How good does this book sound??  I actually haven't read this author's other book (it is on my TBR list as well) but I really want to.  This one first though because I am so intrigued!!! 

The Beauty of the End by Debbie Howells

"From the acclaimed author of The Bones of You comes a haunting and heartbreaking new psychological thriller about a man thrust into the middle of a murder investigation, forced to confront the secrets of his ex-lover's past.

"I was fourteen when I fell in love with a goddess. . ."

So begins the testimony of Noah Calaway, an ex-lawyer with a sideline in armchair criminal psychology. Now living an aimless life in an inherited cottage in the English countryside, Noah is haunted by the memory of the beguiling young woman who left him at the altar sixteen years earlier. Then one day he receives a troubling phone call. April, the woman he once loved, lies in a coma, the victim of an apparent overdose--and the lead suspect in a brutal murder. Deep in his bones, Noah believes that April is innocent. Then again, he also believed they would spend the rest of their lives together.

While Noah searches for evidence that will clear April's name, a teenager named Ella begins to sift through the secrets of her own painful family history. The same age as April was when Noah first met her, Ella harbors a revelation that could be the key to solving the murder. As the two stories converge, there are shocking consequences when at last, the truth emerges.

Or so everyone believes. . ."

I love the sound of this one!!  It sounds both creepy and thrilling- two of the things I love most in a book.  I really, really want to read this one so I will be impatiently awaiting its release.  Plus, how great is this cover??

Shadowed by Karen E. Olson

"Computer hacker Nicole Jones finds herself on the run from an unknown enemy in this tense and twisting novel of identity and suspense"
The computer hacker formerly known as Nicole Jones is now living as Susan McQueen on a remote island in Quebec, Canada. She is living a quiet life, working as an artist but she has not given up her computer. While in an online chatroom, she sees a shadow someone is inside her laptop, watching her every move, and somehow knows exactly who she is.
Afraid that he will track her down, Susan is on the run again but from whom? Is it the FBI or someone associated with her past crime sixteen years before? Making her way across the border and back to the USA, some unsettling discoveries make Susan realize that she won t be able to escape her past a second time."

I was so excited to hear about this book!  I really loved the first book in this series (Hidden) and have been impatiently waiting for this book.  It sounds just as intense as the first book!  I need it NOW!  So pumped for this book!

The Demonists by Thomas E. Sniegoski

"It was supposed to be a simple exorcism, a publicity stunt to firmly establish John and Theodora’s thriving paranormal investigation empire in the public eye. But something went wrong, leading to an on-air massacre that unleashed a malicious host of demons and left Theodora catatonic, possessed by countless spirits.

John sets out on a desperate quest to find a cure for his wife, but his obsession brings him face-to-face with an even more terrifying problem: Theodora’s possession is only one piece of a deadly plot that is threatening the entire world. Because an ancient evil is about to make Earth its battlefield—and without John and Theodora’s intervention, there is no chance for salvation..."

This cover!  I love it so much!  And the description makes me want to read it even more.  I've got this author's other books on my TBR list as well but this is the book that I want to read the most!

There you have it:  the latest books that I have recently added to the never-ending TBR list.  I really want to read all of these so much so the plan is to make that happen this year.  Because one of my goals for 2016 is to actually read all of these books that I have on my wishlist.  LOL!

What books have caught your eye recently?  Which books are you hoping to read sooner rather than later?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Find Her by Lisa Gardner (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Flora Dane is a victim.

Seven years ago, carefree college student Flora was kidnapped while on spring break. For 472 days, Flora learned just how much one person can endure.

Flora Dane is a survivor.

Miraculously alive after her ordeal, Flora has spent the past five years reacquainting herself with the rhythms of normal life, working with her FBI victim advocate, Samuel Keynes. She has a mother who’s never stopped loving her, a brother who is scared of the person she’s become, and a bedroom wall covered with photos of other girls who’ve never made it home.

Flora Dane is reckless.

. . . or is she? When Boston detective D. D. Warren is called to the scene of a crime—a dead man and the bound, naked woman who killed him—she learns that Flora has tangled with three other suspects since her return to society. Is Flora a victim or a vigilante? And with her firsthand knowledge of criminal behavior, could she hold the key to rescuing a missing college student whose abduction has rocked Boston? When Flora herself disappears, D.D. realizes a far more sinister predator is out there. One who’s determined that this time, Flora Dane will never escape. And now it is all up to D. D. Warren to find her."

My Thoughts:

This book was insanity in a good way!  A whirlwind of a read where I never could tell which way was up and which was down.....and I loved every minute of it!  When I first read the summary of this book I was reminded vaguely of The Girls She Left Behind by Sarah Graves.  Because of that I might have went into reading this one expecting a similar type of read but that couldn't have been farther from the truth!  This book was so unique and such a compelling read that I just couldn't stop reading it.  I'm pretty sure that I suspected almost everyone in this book of something at one point or another only to find by the end that I was completely wrong.  I've got to say that is a good thing and made this book such a memorable read because of it.  There were moments that were just horrifying especially as you learned just some of the things that Flora experienced while being held captive.  There were also moments where Flora herself felt like an unreliable narrator.  Be still my heart!  A thriller with a possibly unreliable narrator?  This is like reader catnip for me so it was easy to understand why I enjoyed this one so much.  I could I not when you have a combination like that?

One of the things that I appreciated most about this book was how easily I found myself immersed within its' pages.  This book is the latest in a long standing mystery series (of which I have not read any of the other books) and yet it didn't affect my enjoyment in the slightest.  I honestly felt like this could be read as a standalone novel which was perfect for me.  Now I'm going back to read the rest of the books in this series because I enjoyed this one so much but I didn't have to.  I could tell you a million different things about this book that I enjoyed but the one thing that stands out the most to me is the uniqueness that is Flora.  Flora's character was so captivating and mysterious.  Is she telling the truth about what happened to her when she was held captive?  What secrets hasn't she shared yet with the police?  And what is behind her recent actions that ended with her killing a man?  For every one thing that I thought I understood about Flora there were ten more questions that came to mind with that.  She is one of those characters that will stick with me as the reader and think about.  Actually this book in general is one that I won't be forgetting about any time soon and was overall a standout read!  Just be warned that by the end you won't be able to put this one down!

Overall, this was a dark and haunting thriller and I need more books just like this!  I am so thrilled that I finally have given this author a try because this book catapulted her on to my must read list.  Honestly books like this are why I read and I won't be forgetting this one anytime soon!  I've got no other words other than READ IT!  Recommended to thriller and mystery fans alike!  What a wild ride (and so completely worth it)!  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  Easily a five star read - just wow!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

If I Run by Terri Blackstock (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices. The girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet."

My Thoughts:

 I read the description of this book and knew that I wanted to read it.  I loved the idea that Casey had no choice other than to go on the run even if I had no idea why.  I had to find out which left me very eager to read this one.  I'm happy to say that this book was just as fast-paced and suspenseful as I had hoped it would be.  In fact, this is the first book in a very long time that I managed to read in just one day.  That never happens for me folks because usually three kiddos keep me too busy to read for that long.  This book was just too hard to put down and was such a fast read that I couldn't not finish it.  One of the things that I enjoyed most about this book was that it was told from two different characters viewpoints.  It was told through Casey's eyes as she went on the run.  Her parts of the story were easily my favorite because it was just so crazy all of the things that she went through while trying to stay hidden.  The story is also told from Dylan's point of view as he not only investigates the death of his friend (the man Casey is accused of murdering) but also as he searches for Casey.  I knew that their stories were going to collide at some point but I definitely didn't want it to happen.  And I found myself reading even faster just to see what was going to happen when they did finally meet.

What I didn't realize when I agreed to read this book was that this book would be considered to be (at least I believe it is) Christian fiction.  I'm actually glad that I didn't know this as this isn't a genre that I usually read from.  The religious aspects were there in different parts of the book but they weren't heavy or preachy in any way.  I really enjoyed Casey's character and am hopeful that this is the beginning of a series.  I say that because the author did leave us with some questions even with a very intense ending.  I loved the last part of this book so much because it was such a page turner.  The ending blew me away and left me wishing there was more.  Seriously I need more!! 

All in all, I really enjoyed this one and am left hoping that there will be more books in the future.  I'm really glad that I had the chance to read this one and am eager to read more by this author.  This book was just as fast paced and intense as I had hoped it would be.  It was also the perfect way to end my reading month in January.  Easily recommended to both mystery and thriller fans alike.

Bottom Line:  A thrilling read that left me wanting more!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to FSB Associates and the publisher.

Friday, February 12, 2016

2015 Mini Reviews (Thriller Edition)

I ended 2015 with over thirty books that I hadn't shared my thoughts on.  I've been working on those reviews here and there and have whittled that number done some but not enough for my liking.  At the rate I'm going I will be sharing my thoughts on these books until 2017.  Rather than do that (and forget my thoughts on some of these books entirely) I have decided to do some mini reviews to help me catch up faster.  I really shouldn't feel guilty for not reviewing a book but I do so short reviews it is.  Here are a few books that I have been wanting to share my thoughts on for awhile now:

Hidden by Karen E. Olson

Summary from Goodreads:

"Nicole Jones – if that is her real name - lives off the grid. She doesn’t have a license, passport or bank account. She definitely doesn’t own a computer. She hasn’t left her refuge, Block Island, in fifteen years. She’s hidden from the world and she likes it that way. Nicole doesn’t use a computer, not because she’s afraid of it, but because she’s afraid of what she – a badass hacker in her past life – would do with it.

When the last person Nicole wants to see suddenly reappears, using a name he knows will draw her out, Nicole realizes that her time hidden is now ending. Her past secrets tumbling into the open and her carefully-constructed new life set to fall apart, Nicole must re-hone her long-suppressed computer skills in order to escape from an island that is no longer a haven, but suddenly a prison."

My Thoughts:

I really loved this book and cannot believe that I waited until now to share my thoughts on it!  It was such a unique thriller and was one of those books that swept me away.  I was completely caught off guard by it and found myself just immersed in it the entire time that I was reading.  This is one of those books that will just suck you in and it wouldn't let me go.  I can't describe it any other way.  I found myself constantly reading (long after I should have been in bed) and the entire time I was guessing.  Guessing at what was going to happen next, guessing as I tried to figure out Nicole's past, really I was just guessing and trying to figure out what in the heck was happening the entire time.  And I loved every minute of it!  This book was such a page turner (or it would have been but I read it on my kindle- what do you call that?) and it was just so good!  I'm gushing a bit at this point but that is because I really loved my reading experience with this one.  The summary was the reason I requested it from NetGalley but the book itself was so much more than I expected.  Nicole was so much more herself and I loved her character!  I was so nervous while reading this one as I wanted everything to turn out okay for her.  The tension and suspense that this author created was so intense and was why this book was such a great read for me!

Overall, I was left exhausted after reading this one.  Literally, as I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish and work came way too early that next morning.  It was completely worth it though and I was thrilled to learn that this is a beginning to a new series.  Heck yeah!  I have no idea what kind of ride that this author is going to take us on next but sign me up!  I'm also hoping to go back and check out this author's other books as some of my favorite bloggers recommended them to me as well.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A wild ride that left me breathless by the end!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks the publisher courtesy of NetGalley.

Birdman by Mo Hayder

Summary from Goodreads:

"Greenwich, south-east London. The Met's crack murder squad, AMIP, is called out by nervous CID detectives to a grim discovery. Five bodies, all young women, all ritualistically murdered and dumped on wasteland near the Dome. As each post-mortem reveals a singular, horrific signature linking the victims, officers realize that they are on the trail of that most dangerous offender: a sexual serial killer.

Detective Inspector Jack Caffery - young, driven, unshockable - finds himself facing both hostility within the force and echoes of his past in this, his first case with AMIP. Haunted by the memory of a death long ago, he employs every weapon forensic science can offer for he knows it is only a matter of time before this chaotic, sadistic killer strikes again."

My Thoughts:

This book!  Oh boy, this was such a dark and disturbing read!  I don't get creeped out too often by books but this one definitely had the creepy factor on high.  A few years back (I think-not sure how long ago) I read a different book in this series and really enjoyed it.  I knew that I wanted to see how this series began so I grabbed this one from the used bookstore one day.  Wow!  This book packs a punch and is quite the beginning to this mystery series!!  While it isn't a book for everyone, it is a book that is very well done and one that kept me reading easily.  There were times that I actually wanted to set it aside because it was just so dark but I couldn't because I also needed to see what was going to happen next.  What does that say about me?  Not sure I want to look too closely at that but I cannot sing this author's praises enough.  She isn't afraid to make the reader cringe and it was great to go back and learn more about Jack's character.  He has this mysterious air to him and I'm hoping that we will learn more about him (and his past) as we get further into the series.  I will definitely be continuing on with this series- I know that for sure!

Overall I found this to be a very disturbing thriller but one that I also won't be forgetting about any time soon!  It was fast paced and intense....basically everything that I look for in a good mystery series!  I will be grabbing book two for this series sooner rather than later.  I just need to make sure I am in the right frame of mind for it.  Ha!  Twisted is the best way to describe it!  And that ending will make the entire ride worth it!  Recommended but with the warning that this isn't a book for everyone!  Gruesome factor is high!

Bottom Line:  One of the darkest books that I read all year but I still loved it!

Disclosure:  I purchased a copy of this book from my local used bookstore.  

Two books is enough out of me for one day!  Heck, that is two off of my list so that is even better.  I'm going to try and make a few more posts just like this so that I can catch up completely with my 2015 reads.  Have any of you read either of these?  I would love to chat more about both of these with you if you've read them.  Let me know!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Hunter by Kerrigan Byrne (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"A scandalous proposal.

As one of London't most elite hunters, Christopher Argent never misses his mark and always gets his man. But when his latest target turns out to be a woman—the popular, and stunningly beautiful, actress Millie LeCour—it turns his whole world upside-down. Overwhelmed by the heat that simmers between them, Christopher can't complete his mission. On the contrary, he'll do anything to save Millie's life—even if it means risking his own...

A dangerous passion...

When she learns what Christopher was hired to do, Millie is torn between the fear in her heart and the fire in her soul. Putting herself in this dangerous man's arms may be her only path to safety—but giving in to her desire may be the deadliest mistake she's ever made. With both of their lives in jeopardy, Millie and Christopher must learn to trust the real feelings they're hiding—to find the true love they're looking for..."

My Thoughts:

This book!  I don't even have words for this book other than: READ IT!  This was one of those books that I could not get enough of and didn't want to stop reading.  I read this one in a matter of days because I just could not put it down!  Even now I'm having trouble putting into words how and why I loved this book so much.  Let's start from the beginning and I will try to explain why I thought this book was so great (with emphasis on the word try here).  Easily one of the things that I loved most about this book was the premise.  Falling in love with your would be assassin sounds next to impossible if I'm being entirely honest.  The author took this story line and made me believe in it.  From the very beginning I was wary but this author managed to pull me in and want it to work.  I found that I was behind Christopher and Millie's relationship from the first time that they met and was very eager to see how they would work everything out.  How Millie was ever going to be able to fully trust Christopher was beyond me but I wanted her to.  Basically I was reading this one just with the willingness that goes along with instantly trusting the author to take me on an emotional ride.  I was all in and this book definitely was able to make me feel all of the emotions.  

One of the other things that I enjoyed about this book was the chemistry between Christopher and Millie.  These two had some serious chemistry going on and it was hot!  I especially loved how we were able to see Christopher open up slowly but surely.  He was so closed off at the beginning of the book and I loved seeing how he changed.  I was also very intrigued by the story line and trying to figure out who wanted Millie dead and why.  It made this book much more fast paced as it constantly felt like there was danger lurking around every corner.  I found myself reading this book constantly and fitting in chapters whenever I could.  I just needed to see how it was all going to end.  This book also had one of the more creepy villains that I have come across and there was a scene towards the end of this book that was so intense!  By the end of this book I was at the point where I knew I wasn't setting it down and had to finish.  The ending was absolutely perfect in my opinion.  I ended this one with a smile on my face even though I was sad to see the book come to an end.  I loved these characters so much and am hoping that we will see more of Christopher and Millie in future books.

Overall, this was such an engaging and unique historical romance.  This is a book that I won't be forgetting any time soon and will definitely be rereading at some point.  I have read some good historical romance lately but this one is one of my favorites by far.  I love how the author took a relationship that I totally thought wouldn't work and made me believe in it.  This was a book that put me through the wringer emotionally but I loved every minute of it.  I just plain loved this book!   Luckily for me I have the first book in this series to look forward to.  I won't be waiting long to read it.  Highly recommended but especially to those historical romance readers.  

Bottom Line:  One of the best historical romances that I've read in a long time.  Sigh....I loved it!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Beside Myself by Ann Morgan (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Beside Myself is a literary thriller about identical twins, Ellie and Helen, who swap places aged six. At first it is just a game, but then Ellie refuses to swap back. Forced into her new identity, Helen develops a host of behavioural problems, delinquency and chronic instability. With their lives diverging sharply, one twin headed for stardom and the other locked in a spiral of addiction and mental illness, how will the deception ever be uncovered? Exploring questions of identity, selfhood, and how other people's expectations affect human behaviour, this novel is as gripping as it is psychologically complex."

My Thoughts:

This book left me emotionally drained after finishing it!  It was one of the most intense reads that I have finished in awhile.  Heck, I finished it a couple of days ago now and I'm still thinking about it!  This was one of those books where you just can't quite believe the premise.  How do two twin girls switch places and no one ever realizes the truth?  The author took this storyline and made it work in such a way that I was absolutely just blown away by this book.  It was horrible to read about at times seeing what Smudge (this is what Hellen who turns into Ellie calls herself as a grown woman) went through after the two girls switched places.  This wasn't always an easy read and was much darker than I expected.  But it was so compelling and I just could not set this book down.  My Friday night was basically devoted to reading and finishing this book because I just HAD to see how it was all going to end.

What I loved most about this book was that there were two different story lines.  One was the present and dealt with Smudge's current life.  This viewpoint was so completely interesting to read about because I could never quite get a grip on her actions.  She had that feel of an unreliable narrator that I just adore so much.  The second story line was all about the past and focused on the switch and the years after the girls switched places.  Of the two this really felt the darkest and I found it all so very horrifying.  There were times I just had to set this book down because I was so completely invested in this book.  I had to breathe and remind myself that this was just a story.  I also couldn't help but wonder how things would have been if the girls hadn't decided to play a game one day and switch places with each other.  That unknown was haunting and deeply troubling for me as the reader.  The ending of this book wasn't at all what I expected but thinking back on it, I would have to say it worked.  I really don't think that it could have ended any other way (and I won't say more than that for fear of spoiling it for others).  This was a reading experience that I won't be forgetting about any time soon and an author to watch!  All I really can say after reading this one is" WOW!"

Overall, I really enjoyed this book which feels weird to say when it was such a disturbing read at times.  I connected to the characters and the book just really came alive for me.  I don't know how else to explain it.  I loved how this book made me question and wonder about life experiences in general and how the little things affect us.  The best way to describe this book is troubling....troubling and terrifying but so completely readable.  What a book!  This is an author that I will definitely be reading more of!  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A haunting read that left me thinking about it for days!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher as part of a TLC book tour.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Sunday Post #23 (Football Fun)

"The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme"

Good morning everyone!  I'm getting a nice early start on this beautiful morning and the sun is shining.  Happy Sunday to us all.  It is Superbowl Sunday which means football time is coming to an end.  I always miss it but am really looking forward to tonight's game.  We have a few friends coming over so that should be a good time.  Honestly I would rather watch The Walking Dead marathon that is also on today so I will be sneaking in some quiet time to watch old episodes as well.  NEXT WEEK!  I am so very excited that the mid-season premiere is next week....I can't even!  I am so obsessed with this show and have been impatiently waiting for it to return.

In bookish news, February has started off on the right foot as I've already finished two books.  Both were great reads and I'm already in the midst of another one.  I can't say that I've done well on the NetGalley front (because I haven't) but at least I am also working on getting reviews written to work on improving my ratio.  If I could just stop wanting to read EVERYTHING that looks and sounds good, I might have more of a chance for success.  LOL!  I'm going to try and keep this short and sweet as I have piles of laundry that I need to get to before we have company this evening.  The laundry battle just never ends.

Since my last reading update I have finished the following books (this is more books than I realized- maybe I should start doing these posts every week rather than every two):

The Girls She Left Behind by Sarah Graves - I've already shared my thoughts on this one here.  Suffice it to say that this book was such a great follow-up to book one and has cemented my love of this series.  It was this close to getting five stars from me on Goodreads.  I can't wait to see what this author comes up with next!

The Hunter by Kerrigan Byrne - Sigh!  I loved this book....just loved it.  I actually already have my thoughts written up and my review is scheduled for this week.  But a preview:  I basically just gush about this book the entire time.  So good!

If I Run by Terri Blackstock - I've already written up my thoughts on this one as well!!  I'm so proud of myself.  Ha!  This was a fast-paced read that I just flew through.  I won't be sharing my thoughts on this one till its' release date so in another week I believe.  Also very good though if you were wondering.

The Becoming by Jeanne Stein - Off of my own shelves for the win!  This was the first book that I finished this week and I actually tried to slow down reading this one because I was enjoying it so much.  Didn't quite work but a happy surprise is that I already had book two waiting for me on my kindle.  (And yes sometimes I don't know what is on my kindle until I look.)  An excellent read and I can't wait to continue on with this series!

The Sweetest Chase by Sharla Lovelace- I read this one for a tour later this month and I adored it.  Obviously I don't read enough contemporary romance because I just couldn't get enough of this book!  I loved it to pieces and will be going back for the first book asap!

Whew!  Lots of really great reading ahead of me and only two of those books still need reviews written.  Score!  I'm now currently reading the following book:

Holy crap!  This book is so intense!  I can't even begin to describe it.  If I didn't have people coming over this evening I honestly would probably have spent the entire day reading this one.  As it is, I'm going to be squeezing in as much reading time as possible before the game.  I have to see what happens next!!

New Additions:

Sometimes I feel like I'm setting myself up to fail when I say that I'm going to stay away from NetGalley.  I just can't seem to do it and before I know it I am requesting too many books yet again.  Sigh.  This week I also may have one clicked on a few freebies as well.  Here are a few of the books that I added:

The Demonists and Mortal Falls are both courtesy of NetGalley.  One is a thriller and the other begins a new urban fantasy (I think?) series.  Red Hot Steele was a freebie that just sounded too good to pass up.  The Restorer was a purchase and a book that I have been wanting to read for years so I was thrilled to add it to my kindle.  So many books...

Plans for today are make my house presentable.  Find time in there somewhere to blog, read, and watch The Walking Dead.  And work on my piles of laundry.  Always laundry.  I doubt that I'll be able to catch up with all of you until tomorrow.  Don't worry though- I will have plenty of time then to catch up on my blog reading and hopefully get some commenting in as well.  I'm off to get this day started and my butt in gear.

Happy Sunday and Happy reading!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Snow Angels by James Thompson (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"It is called kaamos--two weeks of unrelenting darkness and soul-numbing cold that falls upon Finnish Lapland, a hundred miles into the Arctic Circle, just before Christmas. Some get through it with the help of cheap Russian alcohol; some sink into depression.

This year, it may have driven someone mad enough to commit murder. The brutalized body of a beautiful Somali woman has been found in the snow, and Inspector Kari Vaara must find her killer. It will be a challenge in a place where ugly things lurk under frozen surfaces, and silence is a way of life."

My Thoughts:

Best way to describe this book:  both dark and chilling!  I picked this as my first read of 2016 because I felt like the cold snowy setting would be great for this time of year.  Add in the fact that this was a beginning to a new mystery series and I was basically set.  All I can tell you is that this book was way darker than I expected it to be and utterly compelling.  The quote on the front of this book from Michael Connelly is so completely true!  This is a world so different from anything I've ever experienced....I just could not seem to get enough of it.  This author pulled me into this book with such ease and before long I was just so completely immersed in this story.  The idea of constant darkness and the cold, wintery setting all combined to create one of the most chilling settings that I have read about in a long time.  The cold and darkness almost felt like a living, breathing thing and it was unsettling to read about at times.  Reading this book curled up under a warm blanket in the evening definitely added to my reading experience with this novel.

The mystery portion of this book was done very well and I found myself guessing until the very end.  Even when I thought that I had portions of it figured out, the author managed to take me by surprise with the ending.  The last fifty pages or so found me reading without stopping because I just could not wait to see how it was all going to end.  I was left very excited about this series and eager to get my hands on book two.  While I really enjoyed this book for the most part, there was a trigger warning that I feel like readers should know about ahead of time.  There was a part of the book that made me uncomfortable and that was the use of a certain racist word.  The author didn't use it to be racist but instead included it because this was possibly a race crime.  That being said- not my favorite thing at all so I couldn't not mention it.  This book is very violent and dark at times so it won't be for all readers.  For me it really fit with the setting of this book and the constant darkness that was present in this book.  When the winter days feel like they will last forever, I am going to remember this book and be grateful that at least the sun is shining where I'm at.  This is a thriller that I am going to remember for a long time!

Overall, this book was a really great way to start off my reading year in 2016.  I couldn't have chosen a better read to utterly creep myself out than this one!  It wasn't always easy to read about but it was so completely compelling.  I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book in this series!  If the next book in this series is as creepy as this one....I will be in for a treat!  I will recommend this one to other mystery and thriller fans but with a bit of caution- this might not be for everyone as it is so dark and has difficult subject matter.  Recommended but with those warnings!

Bottom Line:  Creepy, horrifying, and yet such a great way to begin my reading this year!

Disclosure:  This was a copy from my own shelves.  I can't quite remember where I bought it from: either used book store or local thrift store are my guesses but paid for with my own money.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Girls She Left Behind by Sarah Graves (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"For Lizzie Snow, the ice and snow of her first punishing North Woods winter are dreadful enough. But near the small town of Bearkill a stubborn forest fire now rages out of control, and as embers swirl dangerously in the smoke-filled air, a teenage girl with a history of running away has dropped out of sight again. The locals and the law both think Tara Wylie is up to her old tricks—until her mother receives a terrifying text message.

Equally disturbing: Henry Gemerle—a kidnapper and rapist who once held three girls prisoner for fifteen years—has escaped, and may be lurking in Bearkill. As the fire closes in, Lizzie teams up with her boss Sheriff Cody Chevrier and state cop Dylan Hudson to search for the missing girl and the wily fugitive. But they're blocked by Tara's mother, a frustrating teller of needless lies and keeper of dark, incomprehensible secrets.

Following a trail of grisly clues—a bloodstained motel room, a makeshift coffin in a shallow grave—Lizzie is drawn ever closer to the flames in her race to save an innocent and corner a monster. Someone else also wants to find Tara Wylie and Henry Gemerle, though, for reasons that have nothing to do with mercy or justice. And when they all meet, the inferno threatening Bearkill will pale in comparison to the hell that's about to break loose."

My Thoughts:

Last year I read and adored the first book in this series titled Winter At the Door.  I knew as soon as I finished that book that I wanted to continue on with this series so I jumped at the chance to read this one.  And I went into reading it with higher expectations because of my love of book one.  Happily enough for me, this book was even better than Winter At the Door in my opinion and has cemented my love for this series!  I am well and truly hooked at this point and must see what kind of trouble Lizzie finds herself in next.  What I loved most about this book was how completely different it was from book one.  This one tells a few different story lines at once and they all come together in the end perfectly.  It was such a suspenseful read because of the way that they story was told!  This book was also much darker then I had expected it to be which was a surprise.  There were times when I could literally feel my heart pounding while reading it and I admit to cringing a bit at the beginning.  That is because I wasn't sure what was going to happen next but I knew that it wasn't going to be good.  Before long I was completely sucked into this book and it wasn't until the very last page that I was able to finally to relax.  

One of the things that I love most about this series is how the author uses the weather to create additional tension and add to the suspense level.  In the first book it was the cold winter weather but in this book it was the constant threat of forest fires that the characters had to deal with.  The fire's presence felt like a living, breathing entity at times....I felt like the entire town might go up in flames at certain points while I was reading.  It made the book seem that much more sinister and suspenseful for me as the reader.  I also really enjoyed getting to see all of the characters from book one again.  Lizzie is still just as great as I remembered her to be which made me happy.  I'm hoping that the story line about her missing niece will continue into further books and that at some point we will finally get all of the answers to that mystery.  The author does a great job of interweaving this story line into each book without it being overwhelming.  It is just something else that Lizzie is trying to deal with along with everything else that she has thrown at her.  The ending of this book was quite crazy and I fully admit to being unable to stop reading once I got to a certain point.  I stayed up way too late to finish this one but it was completely worth it!

Overall, this was an amazing follow-up to book one and left me so excited about this series in general.  When is book three coming out??  I need it in my life!  I do think that readers will enjoy this series more if they read the books in order but this definitely could be read by on its own.  Obviously I highly recommend them both (as evidenced by all of my gushing).  This is just a really great mystery series with some great characters and I can't say enough good things about it.  Highly recommended!

Bottom Line:  A mystery that I couldn't put down until the very end!  So good!

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher and NetGalley.

Monday, February 1, 2016

February Reading Plans (2016 Edition)

Creating a reading pile in January seemed to work really well for me last month, and I found myself mentally creating February's pile very early on.  I had hoped that having a pile of books to choose from would help me to pick out my next read with more ease.  I'm happy to report that it worked for the most part!  I did go off pile at one point because Cruel and Unusual by Patricia Cornwell felt like the ONLY book that I wanted to read at that moment but for the most part I did really well.  I had enough variety to fit my reading moods and I'm calling it a success.  For February I tried to include a mix of genres as well because that works best for me.  I even included a nonfiction title off of my own shelves because 2016 will be the year I read more nonfiction!!  I am determined!  Anyways, here are the physical books that I am hoping to read in February:
  • The Becoming by Jeanne C. Stein - First in an urban fantasy series and a book that has been sitting on my own shelves for a ridiculous length of time.  It is time to finally give this series a try especially as I believe I have a different book further on in this series on my kindle.  I've heard good things about these books so I have high hopes!
  • The Lie and The Lady by Kate Noble - This is a review copy and a book that I have been itching to read since it arrived.  I adore a good historical romance and this is a new to me author that I've been wanting to try!  Looking forward to reading this one very much!
  • If I Run by Terri Blackstock - Review copy that I couldn't help but accept as soon as I read the description of it.  I'm a sucker for a good thriller and this one sounds like my kind of read!  I am really pumped to crack this one open so will be reading it hopefully early on this month!
  • Pop Goes the Weasel by M.J. Arlidge - YES!  I cannot even begin to describe how excited I am about this book!  I loved the first book in this series and cannot even contain myself with how excited I am to read this one!!!  Thanks to a Goodread's giveaway and the publisher I will be reading this one this month!
  • Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan - My nonfiction pick for this month and a book from my own shelves.  Actually my sister gave me this one to read awhile back but I'm just now getting around to finally reading it.  I'm so intrigued by this one and there was a lot of hype on it last year.  Can't wait to finally check it out!
  • Hidden Bodies by Caroline Kepnes - Honestly I have no clue what this one is about but I am still SO excited to read it!  Her first book (which I have not read but do have on my TBR list) got a ton of hype and even Stephen King himself recommended it so I just cannot wait to read this one!  This is also a review copy.
It wouldn't be a reading pile if I didn't also include all of the e-books that I am hoping to read in February.  Here are all of the books on my kindle that are being included in my February reading plans:

  • The Widow by Fiona Barton - A creepy sounding thriller that I am participating in a blog tour for.  I love the sound of this one and am looking forward to reading it!
  • Find Her by Lisa Gardner - Review copy thanks to NetGalley and an author that I've been wanting to try.  I feel like I may have read a book by Gardner pre-blogging possibly but I can't remember for sure.  Regardless I am really excited to read this one and give this series a try!
  • Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti - Post apocalyptic romance?  Heck yes!  That was basically all I needed to know when requesting this one from NetGalley.  I have very high hopes for this book!
  • Moonglow by Kristen Callihan - I have a goal in 2016 to catch up with this series so I just had to add this one to my February reading pile.  Also, I really want to read it so that helped my decision as well.  Ha!  And the cover for this one is just gorgeous!
  • Boiling Point by Tessa Bailey - This is an author that I hear a ton about so I couldn't resist requesting this book.  Ugh!  I am sensing another trend this month - lack of self control in regards to NetGalley.  Yet another NetGalley read but one that just sounds like a book that I will enjoy!
  • The Sweetest Chase by Sharla Lovelace - Also a NetGalley review copy but I am participating in a blog tour for this one (in my defense?).  It sounds cute and I really don't read enough contemporary romance so I just couldn't resist adding it to my reading plans.
  • The Hunter by Kerrigan Byrne - When the publisher emailed asking if I would like to participate in the blog tour for this one I basically jumped at the chance.  So many bloggers raved about the first book in this series- I wanted to see what the hype is all about!  There is a good chance that I may end up reading this one in January if I can squeeze it in.
  • The Girls in the Woods by Helen Phifer - Basically all you need to know is that I have no self control when it comes to thrillers and mysteries on NetGalley.  Enough said.  I will try to do better next month but for now I am just going to enjoy reading this one!
Oh dear!  My pile of February books is even larger than my January pile was.  At least I have plenty of good reading to look forward to.  In case you are wondering I also am including the leftover books from my January reading pile to choose from.  Those currently are:
  • Between A Vamp and a Hard Place by Jessica Sims
  • Homicide in Hardcover by Kate Carlisle
  • Swerve by Vicki Pettersson 
  • Steal Me by Lauren Layne
  • The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer
That way those books don't get left behind if I can fit one in here and there.  There is no way possible that I will get all of these read but really the fun is in the trying.  I like having lots of choices to choose from!  And last month I had a really month of reading so hopefully I can do that again in Feburary!

Tell me, what books are you hoping to read this month?  Are there any on my pile that you've read or think I should read first?  Do share!

Happy Reading!

***Edited to add:  I actually wrote this post ahead of time and I've already managed to read two books off of it for January.  As seen from yesterday's post I've already finished both If I Run and The Hunter.  So that is two books less which makes this post seem a little less crazy.  LOL!